In four short years, Paul Ryan has gone from Ayn Rand loving, Social Security eliminating, government shut down poster boy to a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and he’s being called “too liberal” by many to become Speaker of the House, despite the fact that he’s won the nomination.
Has Ryan changed or has the Republican party become so extreme that it’s virtually impossible for someone who’s not completely insane to gain any political traction?
The issue with Paul Ryan is not that he’s too liberal, but as the Daily Beast notes, he’s not a perfect conservative:
It’s important to establish two things. First, even when the Tea Party set loved him, Paul Ryan was never a perfect conservative. And second, Ryan was, and continues to be, a very good conservative—and he would certainly be the most conservative Speaker of the House in modern history.
Let’s begin with conceding the fact that Ryan’s voting record has its blemishes. In fact, way back in February of 2010, I wrote a column taking Ryan to task for having voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the auto-bailout, and for a confiscatory tax on CEO bonuses. The column was controversial enough to draw a response from Ryan. There was some pushback from conservatives, too. A couple guys from the Heritage Foundation and (now) Heritage Action weren’t happy with me.
But modern conservatives don’t research policy. As the ultra-right-wing American Thinker says of Ryan:
It is undeniably true that Ryan is very conservative, but only by Beltway standards. In the real America outside Washington, D.C., you have to do something to advance conservative policies to be a real conservative. Being a conservative de facto is more important than being a conservative de jure. Deeds matter more than words.
By historical standards, Ryan is extremely conservative. His drastic cost cutting measures make Reagan look like the Pope. The vast majority of his budget cutting measures come straight out of the pockets of those who need the money the most.
As far as Tea Partiers go, though, there are two problems with Ryan: He sometimes works with the rest of Congress to pass legislation and he supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The real objection to Ryan, though, has nothing to do with his voting record. In this season where Donald Trump and the even more crazy Ben Carson lead the GOP pack, a policy record is irrelevant. In fact, having a policy record indicates political experience, which is a GOP liability in 2015 – 2016. The unspoken objection to Ryan is that he doesn’t shout and he doesn’t call people names. His rhetoric isn’t about the earth being 6,000 years old or that abortion is responsible for climate change.
The good news for Ryan is that as quickly as he went from Tea Party darling to RINO, he can regain his throne at the top of the Tea Party heap with just a few choice talking points:
10. Say he will round-up all people with brown skin and force them to scrub the barnacle from the Koch brothers’ yachts.
Now, to be fair, that’s not really any different from the way things are currently done, but this will be far more comprehensive. Even conservative darlings Dinesh D’Souza, Michelle Malkin and Ted Cruz will not be exempt.
9. Tell the audience that Barack Obama is the gay anti-Christ.
Yes, it’s an oldie, but Tea Partiers never tire of hearing it.
8. Vow to impeach and imprison Hillary Clinton on day one, even before she wins the nomination.
Who needs the justice system or pesky elections?
7. Force all women, of all ages, to undergo the most invasive possible pregnancy tests, at least once a month.
No abortions will escape his notice. If a pregnancy is suddenly ended, a full congressional investigation will be launched.
6. Mandatory “no-warrant” police searches of homes of all poor people collecting any sort of government assistance.
Any electronics made during this century will be sold and the proceeds will be credited toward welfare and food stamps. Any clothing items worth more than $20 will be confiscated and any car worth more than $500 will be sold at auction.
5. Mandatory “no-warrant” searches of all people of color.
And trust Ryan, the police will find something.
4. Introduce an educational plan that includes free tuition.
Wait, what? Paul Ryan might be the RINO of the month, but he’s no Bernie Sanders or even Hillary Clinton. No worries, Tea Partiers, with this plan, there are no free rides. Students’ education will be paid but only if they agree to work for free for any number of corporations for at least 30 years. Oh, and they should expect no government assistance to subsidize the fact that they are earning no income. I guess it’s time to work a second full time job.
3. Be an environmental rebel.
Hold a pollution contest. Whatever company spews the most toxins into the environment wins a giant government grant.
2. Tell the Tea Partiers that God told him the Devil is behind the rumor he’s a RINO. Tell them that a vote for him is a path to salvation.
1. Impeach the entire Supreme Court
Soon, even Justice Scalia will be considered a RINO. Oh, wait, that’s already happened.
With this new platform and a few choice insults directed at competitors’ looks, Ryan will be Speaker of the House before Donald Trump will have time to tweet about it.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr